Thanks to the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos defeating the Carolina Panthers 21-20 Thursday night, the 2016-17 NFL season is underway.
As with all things football, there are flashy newcomers at quarterback looking to make a name for themselves, low-draft picks looking to prove themselves or veterans in new surroundings which may be their respective team’s final piece of going to the Super Bowl.
You also have free-agent signings and players who have signed big-money contracts looking to prove their worth.
The five quarterbacks featured below are those that I feel fall into that category, who are ready to surprise, take their teams to the next level and are hungry to prove doubters wrong.
Below are my five NFL quarterbacks, who I think will surprise fans and quiet the haters in 2016.
Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills)
Fresh off of a breakout season in which the former backup to Baltimore Ravens franchise quarterback Joe Flacco in Baltimore, in passing for 3,035 yards, 20 touchdowns and six interceptions, the former sixth-round pick out of Virginia Tech and Super Bowl XLVII champion helped lead the Bills to a 8-8 record.
Thanks to his dual-threat abilities as a playmaker, the 6’1, 220-pounder signed a new six-year contract extension worth $92 million.
Can Taylor prove that he is worth every penny in 2016?
Sam Bradford (Minnesota Vikings)
Freshly acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles for a 2017 first-round pick and a conditional fourth-round pick, the former top overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and 2008 Heisman Trophy winner out of Oklahoma could not have landed in a better situation.
As I alluded to here, Bradford is for the first time in his oft-injured career, Bradford finds himself surrounded by playmakers such as Adrian Peterson, Kyle Randolph, Stefon Diggs and Laqoun Treadwell.
A perfect fit for Norv Turner’s downfield passing offense and familiar with current tight ends head coach Pat Shurmur from his days in St. Louis, don’t be surprised to see Bradford put up big numbers.
Trevor Siemian (Denver Broncos)
It is never easy to follow in the footsteps of a legend. Second-year Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian is already learning that rather quickly.
While his first-ever career start box-wise was a rather pedestrian 178 yards passing, one touchdown and two interceptions, the 2015 seventh-round pick out of Northwestern, showed some cool and timely mobility and accuracy in Denver’s 21-20 win over the visiting Carolina Panthers.
While it looks to be a long season of growing pains for both the Broncos and Siemian, thanks to a quality defense and head coach Gary Kubiak’s bootleg-friendly version of the West Coast offense, Simien could be a Rocky Mountain diamond in the rough for the Broncos.
Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)
Can the newly-appointed starter of ‘America’s Team’ be the long-awaited savior and eventual successor to Tony Romo?
Thanks to the fore-mentioned Romo suffering a back injury and likely to be out for the next 8-10 weeks, the former fourth-round pick out of Mississippi State, will have the chance to back up the pre-season excitement and hype that he has generated with his arm and legs.
Thanks to being behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, having a home run threat in fellow rookie in tailback Ezekiel Elliott and threats on the outside such as tight end Jason Witten and wideout Dez Bryant, Prescott has every opportunity to be successful down in ‘Big D’.
Brock Osweiler (Houston Texans)
The OTHER ex-Peyton Manning understudy, much like the aforementioned Siemian, the former 6’8, 235-pound Arizona State standout passed for 1,967 yards, ten touchdowns and six interceptions in eight games during Manning’s absence due to injury.
One Super Bowl ring and four-year, $72 million dollar contract later, Osweiler now finds himself in Space City leading a team ready to make some noise in the hopes of taking down perennial division kingpin, Indianapolis.
Thanks to weapons such as free-agent running back in Lamar Miller, All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins and rookies Will Fuller and Braxton Miller, Osweiler is now at the controls of his own team.